Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science

Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science


Family Medicine


Nancy Ried


Purpose: To assess outcomes of patients with mild to moderate travelers’ diarrhea: does the use of antibiotic therapy reduce the course of disease as compared to patients treated conservatively

Method: A PubMed literature search was conducted with search terms travelers’ diarrhea, antibiotic therapy, conservative therapy. Twenty pertinent articles were retrieved, and they serve as the basis for this clinical review.

Results: Antibiotic Therapy is proven to be effective in reducing the duration of traveler’s diarrhea.

Conclusion: This research demonstrated a strong correlation of antibiotic therapy shortening the course of disease in patients with travelers' diarrhea. Travelers who did not seek care showed an average of symptoms for three days; this was twice as long as compared to those who received treatment.[n1] Patients who received only conservative treatment such as loperamide or bismuth subsalicylate experienced up to a 65% reduction in the frequency and severity of symptoms.Treatment options reviewed included three antibiotics: levofloxacin, rifaximin, and azithromycin and bismuth salicylate, and loperamide for the non-antibiotic care. Studies showed the shortest recovery time with patients who received both conservative and antibiotic therapy, followed by antibiotic therapy alone then conservative management alone.1 However, due to an increased incidence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria globally, antibiotics are not recommended as first-line treatment for mild to moderate disease. Due to the self-limiting nature of the disease, antibiotic use should be reserved for at-risk populations or individuals with severe cases of Traveler's diarrhea.


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